This is the title poem of a new collection of poems — Thai Comic Books: Poems from my life in Thailand with the Peace Corps: 1967-1969 by Burgess Needle, published by Big Table Publishing. His first collection, Every Crow in the Blue Sky, was published by Diminuendo Press in 2009. He is currently editing a journal he kept while teaching in Thailand.
Thai Comic Books
by Burgess Needle (Thailand 1967–69)
It wasn’t a school day, but
these children looked as if they’d
never been in school regardless
of the time
They were far more intimate with
the water buffalo under the bridge
than with texts or blackboards
While all around spring rice planting
went on forever and ever as it had
all their brief lives and the only
excitement occurred when the
foreigner arrived, sat on a bench
right on their own bridge and opened
pages and pages of pictures that seemed
to tell a story then another and it all
went on as the water’s footprint
shrunk and the little girls holding
the tiny baby tightened her grip
And the foreigner kept on reading
so everyone smiled and wondered
what planet he was from.
Burgess lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Barbara.
Visit him at www.burgessneedle.com.